Paulette Brown, a labor and employment law partner and co-chair of the firmwide Diversity and Inclusion Committee at Locke Lord LLP in Morristown, N.J., took office today as president of the American Bar Association at the conclusion of the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago. She is the first woman of color to become president of the 136-year-old organization and will serve as president until the close of the ABA Annual Meeting in August 2016.
Brown plans to devote her presidency to serving ABA members and highlighting the value of the association by reaching out to lawyers and communities across the country. She is also organizing And Justice for All: An ABA Day of Service on Oct. 30, to mobilize thousands of lawyers across the country to volunteer their legal services to those living on the economic margins.
Brown also plans to build on the work the ABA has already done in the area of diversity and inclusion through a newly created Commission on Diversity and Inclusion 360. The Commission will review and analyze diversity and inclusion in the legal profession, the judicial system and the American Bar Association with a goal of developing sustainable action plans.
“The ABA has an important role in rebuilding the nation’s confidence in our justice system,” Brown said.
“Working to eliminate bias and enhance diversity and inclusion is one of the four goals of the ABA and it is critically important that the ABA increase its efforts at this time in our nation’s history.”
“The challenges we face appear to be daunting, but they are not insurmountable. Our commission is up for the challenge and will offer tangible, sustainable solutions that will have a positive impact on the perception of our justice system.”
“I look forward to leveraging the power of the nearly 400,000 ABA members to promote full and equal diversity and to end bias in the legal profession and the justice system. If we are true to our calling as lawyers, we must address this issue.”